Electric Ben: The Amazing Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin by Robert Byrd
Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers, 2012
Format: Picture Book
Award: 2013 Orbis Pictus Honor, 2013 Siebert Honor
Benjamin Franklin was the original American celebrity. Don’t we all know Ben Franklin? Didn’t we all think he was a president when we were younger and thoroughly surprised when we found out he wasn’t (or was that just me)? Benjamin Franklin is so well known and we typically know what he did as an adult but this book also tells us about the young Ben Franklin and what he did to reach that celebrity status.
I remember reading a lot of biographies on Ben Franklin when I was younger — my brother has always loved history and I have always loved to read — but this was something completely different. I liked all the little pictures and captions that added more insight to his story and what life was like during the time he lived. As I read on, I was shocked to see all of his experiments, his inventions, and buildings like schools and hospitals he helped set up.
The endpapers are made up of many popular quotes of Ben Franklin’s. The ink illustrations are so colorful and beautiful. The pictures are typically drawn in cartoon style. Many of the illustrations add fun facts to the biography that aren’t mentioned in the story like Ben was the first American to print paper money and he helped set up America’s first library!
This book is really long and uses more difficult vocabulary which means it is better for older students like 3rd or 4th graders. This also means you can do so much with this book! This would be a perfect book to introduce students to inventors, founding fathers, or even Ben Franklin himself.
Students could make their own mock page of The Poor Richard’s Almanac.